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How to Change the Serpentine Belt on a Chevy 4.3 V6

by Christian Killian

The 4.3-liter Chevy engine has been installed in cars, trucks and SUV’s from Chevy, GMC, Buick, among other brands. The 4.3-liter Chevy is a versatile six cylinder engine, being very dependable and making good power and torque through the RPM range (it is basically a 5.7-liter engine with two of the cylinders removed). The engine uses a serpentine belt system to drive all the accessories attached to it, and although there are some variations on layout, the belt system is very much universal on these engines.

1

Open the hood of your car or truck. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery terminal before starting any work on the belts. Remove the retaining bolt from the battery cable end with a wrench, then remove the cable. Tuck the cable out of the way.

2

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the front of the engine. While there are many different cars that use this engine variant, the tensioner is always located near the middle of the engine and has a long arm with a pulley on the end of it. Some models of tensioners have square holes in the tensioner arms (which allow for ratchet attachment) and some do not.

3

Place a 3/8-inch or 1/2-drive ratchet in the square hole on the tensioner, if the tensioner of your Chevy's engine has the hole in it. The size of the hole will vary from model to model, therefore you will have to try the ratchet in the hole to determine which size fits. If the tensioner does not have the square hole in the its arm, place a socket on the bolt in the center of the idler pulley and attach a ratchet to it.

4

Rotate the tensioner counter-clockwise and release the tension from the belt. Remove the belt from the pulleys and carefully rotate the tensioner clockwise to the home position.

5

Install a new belt, following the original path over the pulleys. Do not install the belt on the tensioner yet. The path is critical, so if you are not sure of the belt path, check the serpentine belt diagram sticker that is affixed under the hood.

6

Rotate the tensioner counter-clockwise and slide the belt onto the idler pulley. Rotate the tensioner clockwise, allowing it to tighten the belt. Do not force the tensioner--it will adjust to the correct tension on its own.

7

Remove the breaker bar from the engine compartment, then install the negative battery cable on the negative battery terminal. Tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.

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